Most of us already have several ways to play digital music, such as CD and DVD players and computers. The hardware used to make your digital audio sound as analog as possible has been around for quite some time. And that’s the Digital Audio Converter or DAC. DACs come in many shapes, sizes, and price ranges, and that’s not even covering the math, engineering, and design that go into a DAC. But the challenge with DACs nowadays is that they are constantly changing, so that a DAC you buy today will likely be improved upon in the near future and you’ll want to upgrade. And that upgrade usually requires you to buy a brand-new DAC. I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about re-purchasing an expensive component every few years.
Well, Schitt Audio has changed all of that with the Bifrost 2. They have given us an escape from the “upgrade treadmill.”
The new Bifrost 2 is a nearly future-proof DAC. It enables complete hardware and firmware upgradability, all without having to send the unit in for service. First, you can upgrade its operating system by yourself, by putting a MicroSD card in the back of the unit. And its chassis is modular, which means when Schitt offers new versions of its modules, you remove a few screws, slide the old module out, slide the new one in, and replace the screws.
Oh, and the Bifrost 2 also features both balanced and single-ended outputs, inputs for digital coaxial, optical Toslink, and USB, and a remote control. Those all feed signals to custom digital-to-analog converters designed by Schiit Audio. Two AD5781 converters do the digital conversion and Analog Devices SHARC DSP processors handle the digital filtering. And the USB input utilizes a PIC32 microprocessor using precision local clocks with complete electromagnetic and electrostatic isolation. You can buy a Bifrost 2 in black or silver. And it’s all designed, built, and supported in California, USA.
That’s a lot of innovation and upgradability in a single component, yet it sells for only $699. But how does it sound? Does a Bifrost 2 DAC even have a sound? How will it improve the sound of the digital audio players I already have? And how can it improve your digital playback? Stand by for a review!